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A Free Life (Vintage International)

A Free Life (Vintage International)
Author: Ha Jin
ISBN 13: 9780307278609
ISBN 10: 307278603
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2009-01-27
Format: Paperback
Pages: 672
List Price: $16.95

Introducing the Wu family — father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao. We meet them as they arrange to fully sever ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, and to begin a new, free life in the United States. At first, their future seems well-assured. Nan's graduate work in political science at Brandeis University ensures him a teaching position. But after the fallout from Tiananmen, his disillusionment turns him toward his first love, poetry. Leaving his studies, he takes on a variety of menial jobs as Pingping works for a wealthy widow as a cook and housekeeper. As Nan struggles to adapt to a new language and culture, his love of poetry and literature sustains him through difficult, lean years. As Pingping and Taotao slowly adjust to American life, Nan still feels a strange attachment to his homeland, though he violently disagrees with Communist policy. But severing all ties — including his love for a woman who rejected him in his...

The Barnes & Noble Review

Over the course of his seven prior works of fiction, Ha Jin has provided his Western readers with a window into the contradictions of Communist China. In A Free Life, he has at last offered up his own contribution to the annals of the immigrant experience in American literature. Jin tracks the personal odyssey of the Wu family as they make their way from the Chinese province of Harbin to Boston, New York, and, ultimately, the Atlanta suburbs. It is at once a tale that follows a recognizable template -- that arc of alienation, assimilation, and generational conflict that accompanies any cultural diaspora -- and a singular recounting of one family's effort to navigate these challenges.